Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Correlations between Prenatal Exposure to Perfluorinated Chemicals and Reduced Fetal Growth

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Correlations between Prenatal Exposure to Perfluorinated Chemicals and Reduced Fetal Growth

Article excerpt

BACKGROUND: Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) are man-made, ubiquitous, and persistent contaminants in the environment, wildlife, and humans. Although recent studies have shown that these chemicals interfere with fetal growth in humans, the results are inconsistent.

OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to investigate the correlation between relatively low levels of PFOS and PFOA in maternal serum and birth weight and birth size.

METHODS: We conducted a hospital-based prospective cohort study between July 2002 and October 2005 in Sapporo, Japan. A total of 428 women and their infants were involved in the study. We obtained characteristics of the mothers and infants from self-administered questionnaire surveys and from medical records. We analyzed maternal serum samples for PFOS and PFOA by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).

RESULTS: After adjusting for confounding factors, PFOS levels negatively correlated with birth weight [per [log.sub.10] unit: [beta] = -148.8 g; 95% confidence interval (CI), -297.0 to -0.5 g]. In addition, analyses stratified by sex revealed that PFOS levels negatively correlated with birth weight only in female infants (per [log.sub.10] unit: [beta] = -269.4 g; 95% CI, -465.7 to -73.0 g). However, we observed no correlation between PFOA levels and birth weight.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that in utero exposure to relatively low levels of PFOS was negatively correlated with birth weight.

KEY WORDS: birth weight, chest circumference, fetal growth, head circumference, length, perfluorinated chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoate, prenatal exposure. Environ Health Perspect 117:660-667 (2009). doi:10.1289/ehp. 11681 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 4 November 2008]

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Perfluorinated chemicals, which have been manufactured for > 50 years, have been used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroocranoate (PFOA), which are representative of perfluorinated chemicals, have recently been found to be widespread contaminants in the environment, wildlife, and humans (Butenhoff et al. 2006; Key et al. 1997; Lau et al. 2007; Renner 2001). The worldwide distribution of PFOS and PFOA is recognized as a severe problem because of their resistance to further degradation in the environment.

PFOS and PFOA contamination in human blood has been reported in various countries (Butenhoff et al. 2006; Calafat et al. 2007; Harada et al. 2007; Kannan et al. 2004; Lau et al. 2007; Midasch et al. 2006). Maternal serum PFOS and PFOA levels measured in our previous study (Inoue et al. 2004a) were relatively low compared with most levels in previous reports (Butenhoff et al. 2006; Calafat et al. 2007; Harada et al. 2007; Kannan et al. 2004; Lau et al. 2007; Midasch et al. 2006).

Exposure of pregnant rats and mice to PFOS led to a reduction in birth weight (Grasty et al. 2003, 2005; Lau et al. 2003; Luebker et al. 2005a, 2005b; Thibodeaux et al. 2003), and a similar result was obtained when pregnant rats and mice were exposed to PFOA (Abbott et al. 2007; Butenhoff et al. 2004; Lau et al. 2006; Wolf et al. 2007). Interference of lipid metabolism (Kennedy et al. 2004; Loveless et al. 2006; Xie et al. 2003) and alterations in thyroid hormone homeostasis (Lau et al. 2003; Luebker et al. 2005b; Martin et al. 2007; Thibodeaux et al. 2003) have been suggested as possible mechanisms of fetal growth restriction. Currently, however, the mechanism behind any correlation between PFOS and PFOA and fetal growth restriction is not clearly understood.

Human studies have shown no substantial changes in hematologic, lipid, hepatic, thyroid, or urinary characteristics in populations exposed occupationally to perfluorinated chemicals (Olsen et al. 1999, 2003). PFOS and PFOA were detected in nearly 100% of umbilical cord sera in 299 samples (Apelberg et al. …

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